One of the most popular choices for home exteriors is vinyl siding. Whether you are building a new home or thinking of resurfacing your existing home, this type of siding is an attractive option to consider. Compared to other materials, it is the least expensive and very versatile. Made of polyvinyl chloride, this siding choice is pre-colored during the manufacturing process. It is available in hundreds of different colors, so you will not need to paint it. Some vinyl is made to look like a wood grain finish for people who want the appearance of a natural material. It is also offered in many different patterns, like beaded designs or horizontal or vertical stripes. Although it has been used for more than fifty years, changes have been made in the manufacturing process to improve the durability of this material.
If the existing siding on your home is old vinyl, you may notice some weather-related deterioration. For example, it may have a yellowed or buckled appearance due to exposure to extreme heat. Older materials also tend to crack in extreme cold weather and become loose due to strong winds. Thanks to improved manufacturing processes and testing, newer materials do not exhibit these types of wear. Modern materials may also have other features or treatments that make them more resistant to weather, including fade-resistant coatings, high wind resistance ratings, and premium thickness.
The thickness of vinyl siding is measured in gauges, and is usually between .040 and .045 inches thick. Some premium brands, which tend to be more expensive, can be up to .055 inches thick. The thickness is one factor that determines cost and durability. A good quality brand of this siding can continue to look brand new for many years. Even the best quality paint is likely to fade or crack after just a few years of exposure to the sun and other elements.
When you decide to use vinyl siding, the most important measure for preventing problems is correct installation. For this reason, it is best to hire a qualified professional to complete the project if you do not have personal experience with this type of work. Improper installation can allow water to accumulate behind the siding and cause the interior wall to rot. If each piece of siding is not properly leveled and nailed, it can cause a “ripple effect”. This refers to the appearance of a buckle or ripple in the siding, which is usually more noticeable on the side of a home with few doors and windows. Vinyl does not provide a watertight covering because it expands and contracts with changes in temperature. For this reason, it cannot be nailed down tightly or caulked or sealed around doors and windows. A protective water-resistant barrier, called a house wrap, is required underneath this siding material. If the house wrap is not installed first, this can also cause water damage and leaks.